S.C. seeks welcome center funds

Concerned that South Carolina's tourism agency may have to close or reduce operations at its welcome centers because of state budget cuts, one local visitors bureau and its member hotels picked up the funding slack.

A year later, with its budget in even worse shape, the state Parks, Recreation and Tourism Department is hoping others will do the same and help fund the $1.9 million cost of operating nine welcome centers.

Last year, the Charleston Area Convention and Visitors Bureau adopted the welcome center located near the intersection of Interstates 95 and 26. The nearly $200,000 it donated came from special contributions from the group's hotel members.

This year, the state tourism department has sent letters to other nonprofits asking them to make proposals for similar arrangements at the other centers along highways near the state line.